As a dentist for teens, Dr. Donna Barefield and her team of expert professionals are here to keep your son or daughter’s smile looking and feeling its best. We know the adolescent years can be difficult. Between school, homework, sports, and maintaining a social life, teens can be prone to neglect their oral health, resulting in serious problems that can negatively impact their smile and self-esteem. Fortunately, we are here to keep their teeth and gums in check while ensuring they are ready to step into the next phase of life – adulthood. If you would like to schedule an appointment for your teen today, call our office! We’ll also be happy to go over your dental insurance coverage to help you maximize your benefits and get your teen the quality care they deserve!
Finding a time that is convenient for your teen to come in for a dental checkup and cleaning isn’t easy, but it’s imperative if they want to avoid tooth pain, decay, and the potential for damage. During these visits, Dr. Barefield will thoroughly examine their smile, checking for signs of decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and bite abnormalities. We will also remove any hardened plaque and tartar that brushing alone cannot handle. Before your teen leaves, we’ll offer suggestions to improve their oral health techniques at home for a happier, healthier smile.
Learn More About Dental Checkups and Cleanings for Teens
Although your teen should be well-equipped and able to properly brush and care for their teeth, they may tend to forget about their back molars, which are sometimes hard to reach. When left for plaque and bacteria to take hold, these teeth can become infected and experience a higher risk for cavities. The good news is your kid’s dentist can apply dental sealants to these teeth to better protect the pits and grooves that often trap harmful bacteria. These safe, plastic-based coatings are placed over the chewing surfaces of your teen’s back teeth, creating a barrier between their tooth enamel and any particles that might try to burrow into the small crevices of these teeth. The best part is they can last a decade or longer with proper care.
Much like young children, teenagers can be prone to cavities. Whether they are consuming sports drinks to stay “hydrated” during practice or snacking on chips and other sugary or starchy foods throughout the day, their teeth are at an increased risk for developing decay. To prevent this from happening, we can administer a fluoride treatment during their regular dental checkup and cleaning. Taking only minutes to apply, your teen’s smile will be better protected against decay, and their tooth enamel strengthened. The application process is quick and easy, resulting in no pain and a healthier smile.
Learn More About Fluoride Treatment
Ideally, it would be nice if there were no cavities to worry about. Unfortunately, as long as sugar, starch, and a teenager’s busy schedule continue to exist, you can count on them being around for just as long. Should your teen experience a cavity, Dr. Barefield can use what is known as a composite resin to fill the tooth and create a seamless, better protected smile. This color-matched solution is malleable and allows for a more natural alternative as opposed to using traditional amalgam. Not only will your child’s cavity be treated, but the treatment will remain undetectable to others.
Many of the problems patients face as it pertains to their oral health occur beneath the surface of the gums. From impacted wisdom teeth to gum disease to poor alignment, your teen’s dentist relies on digital x-rays to showcase the entire spectrum of their smile. If the idea of your teen being exposed to an x-ray machine sounds unnerving, not to worry! Now with the help of digital x-rays, this method of advanced technology emits up to 90% less radiation than traditional methods. Plus, the images are clearer and can be viewed by you and your teen on chairside monitors.
If your teen comes to you complaining of a serious toothache, don’t shrug it off. These uncomfortable situations can be the result of a severely decayed or damaged tooth that is experiencing the effects deep within its layers. When an infection reaches the pulp or nerve of the tooth, it will be necessary for our team to immediately perform pulp therapy to alleviate discomfort and remove the infected areas. Not only will this help your child feel less pain, but it will also save their tooth from possible extraction.
Does your teen have difficulty eating? Are they embarrassed by their inability to speak with clarity? It could be that a band of oral tissue connected to their cheeks, tongue, or lips is keeping them from achieving full oral function. Whether your teen has a lip or tongue tie, Dr. Barefield can perform a frenectomy or frenuloplasty to release the restricted band of tissue and allow for a greater range of motion. In no time at all, your child will notice a dramatic improvement in their ability to eat comfortably and speak with confidence.
If your teen enjoys playing sports, is active on the weekends hiking or participating in activities with friends, you can expect that at some point, they’ll experience a dental emergency. Whether it is a knocked-out tooth, chipped or broken tooth, or even a soft tissue laceration, Dr. Barefield offers same-day appointments for emergency patients and will quickly identify and treat their symptoms before formulating a treatment plan to address the underlying issue. While some injuries can wait to be seen by a professional, others are more time-sensitive (knocked-out tooth). When calling to alert our team, we will determine whether you should come in right away or wait for a scheduled appointment time.
With your teen busy from morning until night, they may have a decaying tooth that requires dental intervention. Whether caused by poor oral hygiene or facial trauma, should your teen require a dental crown to protect their weakened tooth, Dr. Barefield proudly offers tooth-colored restorations that blend in beautifully with natural, healthy teeth. She also offers stainless steel and New Smile (half-composite/half-metal) crowns. Depending on the location and type of tooth, she will recommend the right type of restoration for their smile. Fortunately, no matter which material is used to create your teen’s dental crown, you can feel confident knowing it will be durable and designed to strengthen their natural tooth structure over time.
Learning your child needs to have a tooth removed isn’t always easy, but if Dr. Barefield is recommending it, you can be confident that it is necessary. Whether they are preparing for orthodontic treatment and need to remove a crowded tooth, are experiencing severe decay and their tooth cannot be saved, or facial trauma requires the removal of a tooth, we will administer local anesthesia to numb the area before carefully extracting the tooth. If necessary, your teen can receive sedation to calm their nerves and make them more comfortable throughout the procedure.
When your teen is engaging in their favorite sports activity, you want them to be fully protected, right? You wouldn’t let your son run onto the football field without a helmet, and you wouldn’t let your daughter step onto the volleyball court without her knee and elbow pads, so why would you let them go without proper mouth protection? At Barefield Pediatric Dentistry, we proudly support all athletes and want their smiles to remain healthy and strong, which is why we offer custom-made mouthguards. By creating a customized oral device for your teen, we can ensure it will fit comfortably and properly, protecting their teeth and oral tissues from damage.
As a teen dentist, Dr. Barefield knows how difficult it can be to get these independent, busy adolescents in for a checkup and cleaning. She also understands that as a parent, you probably have many questions about how you can encourage your teen to maintain good oral health amid their chaotic schedules. Below you will find a list of common questions that are designed to help you better navigate these changing years. Should you need assistance or have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
Although your teenager is no longer a child and is likely reminding you of this notion on a daily basis, it is still beneficial that they see a pediatric dentist. The truth is that their smiles, face, and jawbone are still developing. As a result, these changes can have a positive or negative impact on their oral health. By continuing to bring your teen in to see Dr. Barefield, she can continue to monitor their oral growth and determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary, if wisdom teeth should be removed, and offer helpful recommendations to encourage proper oral hygiene habits.
Dental phobia is a common problem among children, teens, and adults. If your teenager is scared or anxious about coming in for an appointment, remind them of the importance of good oral health. It is also helpful to know that we offer sedation dentistry to help calm nerves, minimize anxiety, and keep teenagers relaxed and at ease throughout their appointment. No matter if their phobia developed as a result of past trauma, a fear of needles, or simply the sights, sounds, or smells of a dentist’s office, Dr. Barefield can deliver safe and effective solutions to ensure your teen gets the oral healthcare they need and deserve.
If for some reason your teenager’s lip or tongue-tie did not pose problems during childhood but is now proving to cause difficulties, it’s best to let a pediatric dentist perform a frenectomy to allow for a full range of motion. This simple procedure includes releasing the frenulum (i.e., band of tissue) underneath the tongue or behind the upper lip. This will allow your teen to move their lip or tongue freely and begin eating, speaking, and breathing easier. Dr. Barefield can provide anesthesia and/or sedation to ensure your teenager is comfortable throughout the procedure, which only takes a matter of minutes.
This is dependent upon the recommendation of Dr. Barefield. While most cosmetic procedures are not designed to treat adolescent smiles, there are a few that can be beneficial, especially when it comes to having a self-conscious teen. Dental bonding is a fast and effective way to cover minor imperfections (i.e., stains, discoloration, chips, or minor gaps) that can cause your teen to feel embarrassed by their smile. Using a composite resin that is color-matched to their natural tooth color, Dr. Barefield can easily apply the solution to the surface of the tooth and shape it to cover the imperfection and blend in beautifully with the rest of their smile.
Teens are always on the go, and when it comes to choosing the right foods, they don’t always select the best options. As a parent, make sure your teenager is reaching for healthy snacks at home like fruits and vegetables. Yogurt and cheese are also good alternatives and can give your teen the nutrients they need to better protect their smile and avoid the problems that can occur when eating foods that are high in fat and sugar (i.e., fatigue, weight gain, etc.). Also, make sure your teen also knows the importance of sitting down to eat nutritional meals.
First and foremost, it doesn’t have to be cigarettes that cause your teen’s oral health to decline. Smokeless tobacco can be just as harmful to both the mouth and body. If you know or suspect your teenager is smoking, look for cessation resources to help them quit. Explain the dangers of nicotine and how it can negatively impact their lungs and overall health, even causing oral cancer. Dr. Barefield can work with you to help your teenager understand the gravity of the situation and why they need to kick the habit.
As your teenager becomes more independent, they will want to do more things on their own. Of course, as a parent, you’ll want to make sure they’re actually doing what they’re supposed to do and not just saying they will. To ensure they maintain good oral habits at home, remind them to brush twice a day and floss before bed. Make sure they have the instruments and products they need to continue caring for their teeth and gums (i.e., toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and mouthwash). Also, keep track of their six-month dental appointments, so our team can make sure their oral health is in good condition throughout the year.